Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Hating Game by Talli Roland

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

The Hating Game, published by Prospera Publishing will also be coming soon in paperback and to keep up with the latest news you can go to Talli's website at http://www.talliroland.com/, or go to her excellent blog which is updated most days.


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

You can also follow Talli on:
Twitter: @talliroland, or on Facebook

Saturday, 27 November 2010

'Where We Are' - Southgate & Leigh

Recently I came across the new band, Southgate & Leigh and thought I'd have a quick listen to their music, one track lead to another and I enjoyed their album so much I had to buy it. Now, if you knew me, you'd know that I rarely buy CDs.

'Where We Are' is a mixture of soul, pop and ska and is so good. You can find out all about the band on their official website, read the lyrics, listen to the tracks and buy their debut album, 'Where We Are' here. They also have a Christmas single coming out on 12th December called 'Christmas Time Next Year'.

Phil and Phillipa were kind enough to answer some questions for me:

1. I really enjoyed your songs, both the music and the lyrics, and was wondering where you find your inspiration?

Phil: When I sit down at the piano I practice scales or work out how to play something I heard on telly recently or on the radio and as I’m practicing I invariably get distracted and start mucking around (that’s not a very dignified word for it, but it really seems the best way to describe what I do). When I try to compose I’ll often churn out material that’s technically OK but not necessarily very exciting. Then, without warning, and apparently for no reason, I’ll play something and think, “That’s interesting, I like that”. If Phillipa’s around she will know instantly when I’ve had such a moment and she’ll badger me until I record it for her so she can get working on lyrics for it. In that sense Phillipa is my muse because until she came along I wallowed in the satisfaction of composing melodies without taking the much harder step of crafting half-baked ideas into meaningful compositions. In summary then, my “secret” is to work hard at being a serious musician while being hopelessly unable to avoid the distraction of playing for fun.

Phillipa: I love stories so when I write lyrics I often try to tell a story. Inspiration can come from anywhere really. For example one day I got approached in the street by a "modelling agency" which, of course, turned out to be a scam. I told Phil about it and he was like "We have to write a song about that" so we did. It's called "Fashion Photographer" and it's the first track on our album.

2. I have no idea how someone would go about writing songs, so could you tell me if you write the lyrics or the score first, or is each song produced differently?

Phillipa: All the songs have slightly different ways of coming about. I would say though, that most of the time Phil composes the music first then I write the lyrics to fit. Phil writes pretty quickly and I like to finish one song before I start the next so I always have a sense of urgency when I'm writing but I also don't like to rush. If it's not right I won't use it. I will re-write and re-write until I'm happy.

Phil: I tend to compose in bursts. I’ll go for weeks without composing anything at all and then I can’t seem to play without composing.

3. How long have you been writing/performing your music together?

Phillipa: We performed covers together for about five years but we didn't really start writing together until about 18 months ago.

4. Have you both always wanted to be in the music industry, or was it something that evolved for you both?

Phil: I’ve worn many hats but in my heart of hearts I always knew music was what I wanted to do.

Phillipa: I think it evolved for me. Doing this album has definitely built up my confidence. I really respect Phil so the fact that he believes in me helps me to believe in myself.

5. I don't think I'd be able to choose a favourite song from your album and think that different songs would probably appeal to different moods as some are more upbeat or soulful than others. At the moment my favourites are You Make Me Smile and Bluebells. Do you have a favourite song from your debut album, Where We Are', and if so, what is it?

Phil: Well first off, it’s probably a bit egocentric of me, but I do still genuinely enjoy listening to our album even after all the thousands of times hearing it through the whole recording process. I love the raw power of Phillipa’s voice in What Do You Want, the Bowie-esque middle bit in Marie, the sound of the rhythm section in Don’t Wait, the strings in You Make Me Smile… We were so lucky to be able to work with such fantastic session musicians and hearing them play something you’ve written yourself is a huge privilege. Sorry to avoid the question but picking a winner is tricky for me!

Phillipa: Yeah I find it hard to choose too. I'm so glad you like "Bluebells" though because the lyrics are a true memory from my childhood visiting my grandparents. There is a lyric that goes "It's just something I remember, I wonder if you do too" you might like to know that after they heard it they told me that they do.

Thank you Phillipa and Phil for giving me your time and good luck with your new single and this excellent album.

Here are some links for Southgate & Leigh:
Website: Southgate & Leigh
Twitter: @southgateleigh
Facebook: Southgate and Leigh

Thursday, 25 November 2010

50,000 Words

I've reached my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, so I've now finished. I still have a way to go before actually finishing the first draft of Twice Shy, but have loved taking part in NaNo again this year and by doing so now am well into this book.

It's been great fun, although I'm now going to spend a couple of days catching up with some reading and will carry on writing, although not at the pace as I've been doing for the past 25 days.

Good luck to all the other NaNo'ers taking part.

Now I think it's time for a little I'm a Sleb on the telly and maybe a cup of tea.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Eleven Days To Go

As you can see from this pic of my NaNoWriMo blog widget I've passed the 35,000 word mark (yesterday) and with only eleven days to go I still have to keep going each day to make sure I make it to the 50,000 words by 30 November.

I know there are differing opinions about whether or not taking part in NaNo is actually a worthwhile writing exercise and some do say that it's not possible to write so many words well in such a short time, and without further editing I'm sure they're right. However, for me it means that a book I've been researching/writing for the past 18 months without finishing, thanks to spending too much time worrying about historical details, can now be written.

With NaNo I've used the opportunity of allowing myself this month to write the next 50,000 words of my book and having this deadline means I'm simply telling the story without procrastinating about details. They can come later when I edit. The book won't be finished by the end of the month, but I can continue putting down rest of the story in December.

I'll feel much better having a dirty draft written - I was going to say filthy, but that may suggest more explicit sex scenes than those already in the book - and at least I can make sure the details, as well as the grammer, story arcs, etc are as they should be when I start editing.

So, what do you think of NaNo? Are you taking part? If so, are you enjoying yourself? I know I am.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Confusion: Tom Builder v Lucas North

It's been a strange week for various reasons, but I was a little taken aback to find that I was more upset at the death of Tom Builder in Pillars of the Earth, played by the gorgeous Rufus Sewell than I was when Lucas North (Richard Armitage) died in Spooks.

What is the world coming to? Has the axis in my romantic world tilted somehow? Or could it just be that I didn't see the Tom Builder murder coming? Sigh. It was a traumatic moment. This week I'm going to miss their (fairly equal) dulcet tones on my tv screen.

At least my NaNo attempt seems to be going well and as of last night I'd passed the 23,000 mark. I can't even say it's been difficult because I love my characters so much that telling their story is very enjoyable and the only reason I haven't been writing more is because my eyes are so tired after finishing work.

It's my wonderful daughter's sixteenth birthday tomorrow. It's hard to believe this little blonde curly-haired cherub is now taller and seemingly far cleverer than her mother. And even though I seem to be a source of unending entertainment for her (though I'm not sure why the things say seem to be quite so funny half the time) she is a delight and great fun to be around. I'm very lucky.

So, Happy Birthday to Sas. x

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Lest We Forget

Every year I'm saddened by thoughts of all of the casualties from past and present wars and this year, as I research The Great War for my wip, I find it even harder to imagine the horrors and difficulties the survivors have had to overcome.

The Royal British Legion, St Dunstans, and others do such wonderful work and as I was lucky enough to have one of my poppies attached to my coat by a charming Chelsea Pensioner the other day, I couldn't help thinking how much we owe to these incredible men and woman.

Lest We Forget...

Saturday, 6 November 2010

And The Winner Is...


Congratulations to Fee and thanks for leaving comments both here and at Bookersatz. Please email your address to me at debs(dot)carr(at)jerseymail(dot)co(dot)uk. Thank you also to Margaret for kindly letting me have a signed copy of her excellent book. This is a beautifully told story and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you to everyone who entered and left comments. In case you were wondering how the winner was chosen, I listed the all the names who entered both by leaving comments at this blog and at Bookersatz and numbered each one. Then I went to Random.org and the number 15 was selected. Fee's name was next to number 15 and it was through her comment at Bookersatz that she won this book.

Tomorrow I'll be posting about another signed copy of a book I'm currently enjoying, however, this will be the last signed copy of a book I'll be able to offer, well, at least until the next time, but that won't be for a while yet.

This week I've been concentrating on my NaNo entry and as of last night I've managed 11,200 words and I don't think they're too terrible, at the moment. We shall see.

Congratulations once again to Fee and many thanks for everyone who entered.

Have a lovely day.x

Monday, 1 November 2010

Publication Day, Launch Day & Giveaways

Today is Publication Day for The Silver Locket by Margaret James. I loved this book and to find out more about it, you can read my review over at Bookersatz.

To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy, please leave a comment either here, or at Bookersatz, or if you want to increase your chances of winning, why not leave a 'pick me' comment in both places. You have until Friday, 5th November at 6pm to do so.

Today is also Launch Day for Phillipa Ashley's debut US novel, Dating Mr December, which has already been made into a film there. Dating Mr December is the US version of her fab book, Decent Exposure.

To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of the US edition wherever you live in the world (it's one of Phillipa's author copies) please visit her blog or her Facebook Author page and let her know you'd like to be entered into the draw.

I thoroughly enjoyed both these books and can't recommend them highly enough. Right, I'd better get on with my NaNo book, otherwise I'll never get to 2,000 words, never mind the 50,000 I need to produce.